Food packaging industry is the ‘scapegoat’ of environmentalism

“Beat Plastic Pollution” was heard everywhere this year on World Environment Day, calling for consumers, businesses and government to avoid the use of plastic.

Cheap and durable, plastic and its role in everyday life have come under the spotlight after numerous reports revealed that the non-biodegradable material now contaminates food and drinking water.

Of all the plastic used, packaging accounts for 39.9 percent, beating the next highest category—consumer and household goods—by a whole 17.5 percentage points.

“Sometimes food packaging becomes a scapegoat of the whole environmental movement,” says Onat Bayratkar, vice-president of Sealed Air Food Care.

Food manufacturers have come under fire for the excessive use of packaging as momentum against plastic picked up speed around the world, from bananas to Easter Eggs.

It is imperative that consumers and producers alike understand its value as a resource, and move towards recycling.

While acknowledging the risk that plastic poses, Bayratkar points out that food safety cannot be compromised and there are no viable alternatives on the market that can preserve food freshness the way plastic can just yet.

As such, plastic is unlikely to be completely phased out entirely in the near future.

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